Content creators are faced with a dilemma.
They do huge amounts of work creating great content, but how do they get paid?
In this article, we are going to explore the humble online tip jar and why creators should consider using one.
What is an online tip jar?
An online tip jar is a way for people to support their favorite creators by giving them money directly through their websites.
It is a quick and easy way for supporters to donate small amounts of money to content creators who have already given them something valuable in return—for example, great blog posts or YouTube videos.
How do Creators Monetize Content?
How do creators monetize content?
There are lots of ways to monetize content such as advertising, sponsorships, affiliate links, memberships, offering products and services, and an online tip jar (donations).
Let’s look at the pros and cons of these and see how they compare to using an online tip jar.
Adding Advertising to Content
The most commonly used way to monetize content is by adding advertising or putting your content on platforms such as YouTube that share advertising revenue.
But advertising comes with its own problems:
- You force your audience to watch ads
- You need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers on YouTube to monetize
- Many viewers use ad blockers
- You earn peanuts
In Louis Rossmann’s “Blocking YouTube ads is PIRACY!!!” video, Louis says he will make more from a viewer if the viewer pays a $1 donation than if that person watches his videos for a couple of years.
So Rossman has no problem with people blocking ads or downloading to view offline because it costs him so little.
He does encourage viewers to tip a $1 now and then if they found the video useful.
According to the YouTube Money Calculator from Influencer Marketing Hub, 1 million views over a year might earn a YouTube creator about $3,000 or so for the year.
For most people, advertising is a minor income stream rather than an income you can live off of.
Another common way to monetize content is sponsorships.
Sponsorships vary, but might include a shoutout/thank you on your video to your sponsors or even perhaps a sponsored video where you are paid to review a product.
Good content creators will disclose when a video is a paid review.
Sponsorships can be an ok source of revenue, but it is similar to ads in that you are interrupting the video or content to promote the sponsor.
And the time to create sponsored videos can take you away from the videos you want to create.
It can be difficult to find sponsors that fit in with your video content and interest your audience.
VPN services are commonly promoted in videos, but wouldn’t fit my brainstorming community audience.
A good example of a sponsorship that works is Retro Recipes and PCBWay.
Retro Recipes does videos on old, nostalgic computers so the sponsorship of a company that makes printed circuit boards, some of which are used to emulate retro computers, fits in with the channel.
Another drawback of sponsorships is that it takes time to find sponsorships while your channel grows, but does become easier as your channel becomes more popular.
In my case, I do set up strategic partnerships/sponsorships with companies that provide special offers for my brainstorming community members.
But I make sure they are tools I use and recommend myself.
What About Patreon?
Patreon is another tool used by influencers to create membership tier levels and reward faithful subscribers, usually by giving them premium content, merchandise, etc.
You have to come up with membership tiers and additional content and perks.
This creates a lot of extra work.
For example, you might be able to offer a monthly subscription for $3/month and then give your subscribers access to exclusive content or other perks like discounts on your products or services.
But what if those perks cost you more than the subscription fees?
What if those perks cost you more than $3/month?
Suddenly your plan doesn’t seem so great anymore!
If you are a full-time content creator with a great following, a platform like Patreon might make sense, but in my case where my content is to link people to my business offerings, I feel the extra work of more content and complexity for membership levels isn’t a good fit for me.
Linking to Products and Services
The best path for me has been to use my videos and content to attract visitors and offer them my paid services and products.
This way, I keep 100% of the profit instead of tiny bits of advertising revenue.
Also, I can promote tools that I actually use in my own work, instead of having to shill for sponsors.
It also means that people who visit my channel will be more likely to click “buy” because they know me as an authority on the subject matter!
Online Tip Jars
So where do online tip jars fit in?
Online tip jars are a monetization option that’s become more and more popular over the last few years.
They provide a middle ground between your free views and your clients who may pay you 100s or 1,000s of dollars for services.
They let your viewers who love your content reward you directly by donating $1, $5, $10, $25, or more.
This can provide another stream of income for your existing content without you having to create premium content for Patreon or shill for sponsorships or make a few pennies on advertising.
It’s also nice because it gives people an opportunity to give back to their favorite creators without taking anything away from them.
It allows them to support what they love without feeling like they’re paying for something they already got for free.
How do I create an online tip jar?
It’s a fact: people are more likely to contribute when they can do it in a moment, and they’re even more likely to do it if it’s super easy.
There are a lot of ways to make an online tip jar, but I like “Buy Me A Coffee”.
They have lovely buttons that integrate with Stripe, so your audience can support you without leaving your page or YouTube channel.
Just click on my “Buy Me A Coffee” link to see how it will look to your audience!
In addition to the simple Buy Me a Coffee buttons, you can also set up membership levels and premium content similar to Patreon, but I prefer the simplicity of just the button to encourage support.
So when it comes to monetization, why not give the humble online tip jar a try? You can click on mine below! 😁🙏